THORChain and Maya. A comparative analysis

A robust cross-chain ecosystem demands more than just one backup for decentralized infrastructure. Discover how Maya strengthens this foundation.

Key takeaways: 

  • Maya acts as a second engine, enhancing the overall reliability of the decentralized infrastructure, similar to an airplane with dual engines for increased resilience.
  • New features are introduced! Such as Liquidity Nodes for better capital efficiency, $MAYA tokens representing a share of fees, and Impermanent Loss Protection (ILP).
  • Maya’s roadmap includes Savers for single-sided asset exposure and the integration of Aztec, a Smart Contract chain.

In the ever-evolving multi-chain landscape, the emergence of Maya Protocol as a friendly fork of THORChain raises questions and sparks curiosity: What is the main difference? Why do we need Maya if we have THORChain? This article aims to dive deep into the comparative dynamics between THORChain and Maya, and how this symbiotic relationship benefits both protocols.

Why go for Maya when we've got THORChain?

To understand the necessity of Maya, it's crucial to grasp THORChain's essence as a technically viable, completely decentralized, and permissionless exchange, but with its limitations. THORChain's capacity is confined to integrating only a limited number of chains. In this context, Maya plays a pivotal role, not merely as a backup system but as a strategic alternative. Maya seamlessly integrates additional chains beyond THORChain's constraints, providing a robust solution and diversifying the cross-chain landscape.

To put it in simpler terms, imagine the decentralized cross-chain infrastructure as a vital engine. THORChain functions as a robust single engine, efficiently propelling the ecosystem forward. Now, introduce Maya as the strategic addition of a second engine, providing redundancy and fortifying the system's resilience. Just as an airplane can fly with one engine, the inclusion of Maya acts as a crucial backup, enhancing the overall reliability of the decentralized infrastructure. The intention has never been to crush THORChain, but to form an alliance!

Here is an overview of why we think THORChain cannot and should not be the only cross-chain DEX out there:

  • They need backup as a universal backend provider.
  • THORChain cannot grow fast enough to capture all the addressable markets.
  • THORChain will eventually hit its TPS limit.
  • The technology needs validation.
  • There is currently no competition or collaboration.
  • Focus on different target markets.
  • Compatibility.
  • They should not be dancing alone!
  • Version Stability.
  • Two minds are better than one.

For an in-depth exploration of Maya's origins and the reasons behind its creation, delve into our Whitepaper to gain comprehensive insights! It's crucial to note that Maya maintains backward compatibility with THORChain, signifying that Maya will seamlessly integrate ThorFi into MayaFi. 

Pioneering a path

Maya and THORChain represent a revolutionary departure from conventional exchanges, transcending the mere alteration of values in a centralized database. Their groundbreaking approach involves the actual on-chain transportation of funds for users, akin to a logistical service. It's crucial to recognize that both THORChain and Maya operate as cross-chain services, signifying a level of security, transparency, and decentralization that far surpasses traditional exchanges.

Addressing questions about Maya's differentiation and, to quote a specific example, its approach to security issues inherited from THORChain in 2021, it's crucial to recognize that Maya has incorporated these adjustments precisely because of the security challenges encountered. The issues, including outbound delays and solvency checks, were not oversights but deliberate measures taken to uphold the value of liquidity providers (LPs) and fortify the platform's overall security posture. This strategic approach empowers Maya to benefit not only from its enhancements but also from the improvements made to other chains within its network.

What are the main differences?

The Vikings set the foundation, yet Maya sets itself apart by continuously evolving with distinct objectives focused on three key aspects: capital efficiency, security, and value capture. Let's delve into each feature:

A new allocation model

The Liquidity Auction was a method used to distribute $CACAO tokens to participants. It was a 21-day event where users contributed supported assets to a specified address. After the auction, 90% of the $CACAO tokens were distributed to participants based on their liquidity contributions, and the remaining 10% went to the ILP reserve. Participants became liquidity providers by having their contributed assets and $CACAO tokens deposited in Maya's pools, earning a share of the fees generated.

Liquidity Nodes

Instead of adhering to the Pure Bond Model architecture, Maya considers dismissing those bonds entirely with a Liquidity Nodes model. Instead, it empowers nodes to contribute liquidity directly, bonding this liquidity to the network. By utilizing this liquidity for bonding, the node operator assumes a risk: if they misappropriate someone else's funds, they stand to lose, serving as a strong deterrent. Consequently, node operators leverage Liquidity Units from Liquidity Pools, serving a dual purpose of providing liquidity and enhancing network security.

Dual token system

Unlike THORChain, Maya has two tokens. $CACAO is Maya’s $RUNE, and then there is $MAYA. $MAYA tokens represent a share of the ecosystem's fees, specifically 10% of those generated by the protocol. Unlike $CACAO, $MAYA serves as a tokenization of the protocol's cash flows. The payout to $MAYA holders occurs in $CACAO every 24 hours, proportional to their holdings and the network's fee generation. 

The ownership of $MAYA tokens extends to the Maya working team, eligible $RUNE holders, and early node operators, reflecting a strategic distribution outlined in the official Whitepaper. This is due to the fact that all $CACAO was donated during the Liquidity Auction.

Impermanent Loss Protection (ILP)

The ILP mechanism is funded by the Maya Protocol Reserve, equivalent to 10% of the $CACAO supply (10 million $CACAO), consistently replenished with 10% of protocol fees. ILP activation occurs on the 50th day post-liquidity deposit, with coverage capped at 100%. 

The ILP duration depends on the relative performance of ASSET and $CACAO, reaching full coverage after 150 days if ASSET outperforms and 450 days if $CACAO outperforms. ILP is paid and reset upon full withdrawal, unaffected by partial withdrawals, and only reset (not paid) on top-ups.

Deterministic Value 

$CACAO's price is determined by two key elements. Firstly, there's a fixed value based on the liquidity present in the network. Secondly, there's a speculative premium that adds an element of anticipation for future value. In Maya Protocol, the enduring 1:1 pool ratio ensures that $CACAO will always have a value of at least 1x the Asset TVL (Total Value Locked) in the protocol.

What’s next for Maya Protocol? 


The savings feature works for users seeking yield with single-sided asset exposure through Synthetics. Users mint a Synthetic asset with 1:1 purchase rights on the underlying L1 asset, lock it in a Savings vault, and receive Saver Units, tracking their ownership of the total vault balance. The protocol monitors the yield earned by the underlying Synth liquidity, paying it directly into the vault.


Aztec will be a Smart Contract chain inside the Maya Protocol ecosystem. It combines MayaChain's cross-chain liquidity with Smart Contracts and economic capabilities. It is being developed as a fork of the Cosmos Hub and will enable various DeFi solutions such as algorithmic stablecoins, derivatives, and order book trading. Also, it allows $AZTEC tokens as revenue share tokens that grant holders a proportional fraction of the fees generated on the Aztec Chain. 

DEX Aggregation 

The collaboration between Maya Protocol and THORChain involves the development of a one-click aggregation feature. Upon launch, users will be able to effortlessly trade assets between Maya and THORChain through the CACAO:RUNE pool on Maya. This integration aims to provide a smooth and efficient cross-platform trading experience for users of both protocols.

Streaming Swaps

THORChain has successfully implemented a groundbreaking feature that will be very soon in Maya as well: the ability to break down a large swap into smaller parts, executed gradually over time. This feature empowers users to customize the time intervals between each smaller trade segment and determine the number of these subdivisions, providing a flexible and strategic approach to trading over a specified period.

More chains!

Maya will of course integrate new different chains. Currently, Arbitrum, Cardano & Kaspa are on our roadmap to be integrated. These chains will be directly connected to the money flowing on Bitcoin, Ethereum and the other integrated chains.

A cross-chain alliance!

The dynamic interplay between Maya Protocol and THORChain unveils a symbiotic relationship that not only addresses the limitations of the individual protocols but propels decentralized finance into new frontiers. 

Maya's emergence as a friendly fork of THORChain signifies not competition but collaboration, adding a layer of resilience to the decentralized infrastructure akin to a dual-engine aircraft. With features like Liquidity Nodes, $MAYA tokens, and Impermanent Loss Protection, Maya brings innovation to the forefront. 

The roadmap, promising Savers for single-sided exposure and the integration of Aztec, underscores Maya's commitment to pushing the boundaries of decentralized finance. As these protocols evolve hand in hand, users can anticipate a seamless cross-platform trading experience and a suite of features that exemplify the progressive spirit of DeFi.